danger/u/
(Setting): NSFMed at Glitch City [Karte 3]

| continuing from the last thread-- at this point i'm just going to have the setting be the hospital in general, since I tend to specify location from "scene to scene" anyway. there's a heavy ER/UC focus since that's most accessible to the public, but given that we keep jumping around and there have been comments made about characters that have already been admitted, other units/departments are now open. title is a black jack reference, btw


| "Certainly, miss! Right this way."

>The security officer extends an arm in the direction of the sitting area before he begins to guide the woman over. He manages to find an empty armchair, and stands beside it until she seats herself-- as if he was reserving it exclusively for her use. He gestures towards the refreshment cart that he had mentioned earlier, and bows his head again.

"Please make yourself comfortable, and let us know if you need anything else."


| [Surgical Department, On-Call Room]
>As she reads his reply, Aikawa wonders if CN will consent to an x-ray once he arrives, since back at the bar he made it sound like a decent portion of his ribcage is now doing the opposite of its job. With her newfound knowledge of the fact that Geeky doesn't have a driver's license, she also finds herself wondering how on Earth he's going to make it over.

>"We'll keep her safe. Tell me when you show up."


| >>559972
>She then slips her phone back into her pocket and watches as Roy struggles to help Strawberry out of her "locked in" state. There's a lot running through her head right now, and one thought keeps interrupting all the others despite her attempts to drown it out by focusing on literally anything else: the thought that this might all be some weird, fucked up dream that she's decided to play along with as a product of her panic over the blackout. This is all very surreal.


| >>560005
>Roy looks over his shoulder to see Aikawa staring at him, and decides to repeat in full this time the half-statement he had uttered earlier.

"You're not supposed to be using commlink. CN told you that--"

"I >>>know what he told me, but the line was engaged every time I tried to get back to you and I wasn't just... I wasn't just>>>not going to return your call!"

>Roy notices her expression become almost pained, but chooses not to comment on it.


| >>560093
"Ei, it would have been fine for you to just show up."

>Aikawa looks like she's gradually building up to some sort of meltdown over the events of the last 12 hours-- she and the air around her have become more tense with the passage of time. Instead of responding with vitriol, however, she's quiet for a few very long, almost suffocating seconds.

"... thought you were dead..."

>She mumbles, biting her lip and shoving her hands in her pockets.

"... What?"


| >>560095
"I >>>thought you were>>>dead."

>Aikawa hunches against the wall, expression masked by her bangs falling into her face as she drops her head low.

"That ship... I saw it going towards the hospital. I was leaving to help some other people, and I saw it, and we couldn't turn back..."

>Her gaze is far away as she watches things play out all over again, sinking deeper into the pit that was rent open in the bottom of her stomach when she first witnessed this.


| >>560100
>Roy decides it's time to let her come up for air, and casts her a metaphorical line.

"Ei, you still think that, don't you?"

>Ever since the hack, she's been doubting how reliable her own memory and senses are. The fact that Roy is perceptive enough to view her fear of his possible death as an extension of this is surprising to her. She turns to look at him, unsure of what to say back.

"... What?"

"... I'm not dead, Ei. I promise."

"I never said I still--"


| >>560104
>He holds up a hand, and Aikawa falters before completely trailing off. Roy guessing exactly what's on her mind is actually a lot less reassuring than one would think. That's not usually one of his strong suits.

"You didn't say it, Ei-- but >>>if that's what you were thinking... try to put it out of your head right now, okay?"

>His request outwardly goes unacknowledged, as Aikawa doesn't want to admit out loud that he's hit the mark. Her pride is still intact, after all.


| >>560105
>Dr. Roberts pipes up from the opposite side of Strawberry's bed, wanting to remind Roy of their original objective. He came for an I&D; he's not leaving until he sees one.

"Dr. Walker and..."

>He gestures at Aikawa in place of saying her name, since he has no clue who she is. A resident in Radiology is likely going to have little contact with a paramedic.

"Are we going to drain the fluid from her arms? Aren't we still in danger unless we do so?"


| >>559967
"I will make sure to do so. Thank you."
>She sits down, her gaze still transfixed on the lilim
>Her grin is gone once more


| >>560189
[Emergency Room, Waiting Area]
>The security officer, unable to come up with much else to say, offers assistance in the only other way he can think of:

"Is there someone I should tell about your arrival, miss?"

>Her attitude is confusing, physically engaging but emotionally dismissive at the same time. The dissonance is really throwing the lilim for a loop.


| >>560166
"... In danger of what?"

>A man in some very rumpled scrubs and a surgeon's cap trudges through the doorway and yawns loudly, rubbing a hand over his face as he does so. Opening one eye, he's greeted by a sight one wouldn't normally expect in an on-call room: a patient and a portion of her team, bed and all.

"Hi, Max. I'm sorry, but this room is being used right now."

>Roy folds his arms across his chest, resolute in his decision to keep Dr. Edison off of this case.



| >>560195
>Aikawa doesn't seem to recognize the ill-tempered orthopedist, and looks to Roy for an explanation. She nods her head in Dr. Edison's direction.

"Friend of yours?"

>Roy seems troubled by her question and gives her a slightly confused look.

"... You've met--"

>He hesitates. Maybe she's just really tired, or the bandanna is throwing her off. Best not to make her worry further.

"... He's been covering for me while I've been out."

>Dr. Edison scowls at them both.


| >>560194
>Her grin returns, softer than before
"If a man introduces himself as CN, tell him that... Yes, Entropy wants to talk to him. Urgently."
>Her gaze is still focused, unflinching, it's as if she was trying to see something in the lilim's gaze


| >>560197
"Well, excuse me for interrupting your little gathering, Roy. If you're going to kick me, you might as well kick Roberts too-- then you can go back to doing what you normally do in this on-call room."

>At the end of his comment, Dr. Edison's gaze deviates to Aikawa for a second; he then returns to glaring at Roy, a sneer forming on his face. He makes his exit before anyone in the room has a chance to respond-- which is honestly probably to their benefit.


| >>560203
>The ever curious Dr. Roberts can't help but pry. Maybe there's something to be gained from further investigation? Perhaps Roy is the studious type, and spends his time in here perusing texts...

"... What is it you 'normally do' in the surgical on-call room, Dr. Walker?"

>Roy and Aikawa answer simultaneously, neither missing a beat:

"--He sleeps in here--"
"--I sleep in here."

>Aikawa's tone is incredibly assertive, Roy's is much more passive.

"... Oh."


| >>560202
"Of course, miss. I will make note of his name and relay your message if I encounter such a visitor."

>The lilim smiles gently and bows once more before heading back to his post, happy to have something to do that isn't just turning people away or showing them to the ED. On his way over, he stops at the information desk and speaks with one of the secretaries, who nods and then returns to her work.


| [Surgical Department, On-Call Room]
>>560204
>Aikawa is mercifully distracted from her (about to be) all-consuming humiliation and rage by an incoming comm from security. Surprised by the delay in arrival of what would typically be an immediate storm, Roy asks:

"Is something wrong, Ei?"

>She pauses before taking out her phone to text CN again.

>"Security just paged me... Who exactly should we be expecting, other than you? There's a maid in the lobby who knows your name."


| >A hoverbike floats into view of the hospital, deftly floating between parked vehicles and injured people as it finds a discreet space near a water feature.

>The rider is a lithe woman with a short black bob. She tightens a thick black jacket around her chest as she gets off the bike, and unlatches a tall rectangular box from the vehicle. She slings it over her shoulder and makes her way toward the hospital entrance.


| >>560211
>The same lilim security officer from earlier spots the willowy woman heading in the direction of the sliding glass doors, and gives her a friendly wave. He takes note of the box, careful not to show any hint of suspicion on his face. Although he may not have been present during the firefight earlier, word gets around-- he's heard tell of some shifty figures who were attempting to build something in front of the entrance at that time.


| >>560213

>The woman waves back and either gets in line, if there is one, or makes her way directly into the hospital waiting room.


| >>560215
>The lilim security officer meets the woman a few steps into the waiting area, and greets her cheerfully.

"Good evening, Miss. How may I assist you? Do you require medical attention?"

>He tilts his head in the direction of the ED/UC waiting room, where patients slowly continue to move in and out of the triage tents.


| >>560216

"Hey, I'm actually hoping to see someone that was admitted earlier- she goes by the name 'Strawberry?' I'm a friend."

>The woman says smoothly.


| >>560219
>The lilim runs through the hospital intranet's patient registry, which displays a few hits scattered between their location and other locations in the hospital's network. Only one is located in [email protected] there is a notice that triggers when he reviews this, stopping him from continuing onto his "modified visitor policy" spiel.

"Ah! I see. May I ask your name, Miss?"

>He's still intrigued by the box, but doesn't need to ask about it just yet.



| >>560221

"The name is Road. Rocky Road." >The woman says, grinning.


| >>560223
>There's another brief pause as a hidden relay takes place-- one that ends in Aikawa being commed about "an expected guest." Another fraction of a second, and an answer makes its way back--

"Thank you. Please wait here just a moment-- it was requested that one of our staff escort you to the patient's room."

>Eenie, meenie, miney, mo... A minute or two goes by before Rocky sees the person who drew the short straw stepping out of the elevator.



| >>560225
>They give a wave, and approach rather quickly-- hopefully Rocky doesn't mind walking at a breakneck pace back to Strawberry's room. They come to an abrupt stop in front of the dark-haired woman, and extend a hand.

"Rocky? Name's Aikawa."

>Out of the 3 people in that room, she's probably the most capable of defending herself should anything start to go down the pipes. It was less of a force and more her volunteering to pick Rocky up, if she were to be honest about it.


| >>560225 >>560226

>Rocky extends a hand of her own and gives Aikawa's a warm shake. She nods toward the general direction of where Strawberry may or may not be.


| >>560228
>Aikawa looks back towards the elevator and turns on her heel, motioning to Rocky to follow.

"C'mon."

>In the elevator, things are quiet-- Aikawa doesn't really know what to say having been just introduced to this entire situation. She glances at Rocky a few times out of her periphery before her eyes dart quickly back to watching the screen on the elevator wall count off the floors.

"Are you her sister?"

>The elevator comes to a soft stop, and the door opens.


| >The maid has vanished, as if she had never been there in the first place


| >>560229

>Silence for a beat.

"In a manner of speaking."


| >>560233
>The security officer continues his rounds within the lobby, and notes the absence of the austere maid from the visitor sitting area. He wonders if she was a part of the group that one particular patient was expecting... Yes, that must be it, and she must have went to join that other visitor-- Miss Road. Nothing has come down through the wire about her specifically, so he assumes that this is likely not something to worry much about.


| >>560235
>Aikawa nods in response, and steps out of the elevator and into the hall.

"Right."

>The on-call room is not too much further down the corridor, luckily-- had Roy picked anywhere else to hide Strawberry away, she'd be leading Rocky through a maze of twists and turns into different departments right now. The two women reach the door, which Aikawa had closed behind her when she left. The paramedic knocks loudly on the wood.

"Hey, we're back."


| >>560238
>Roy opens the door a crack, and peers back at Aikawa and the new ice cream flavor that'll soon be joining them in the on-call room.

"Oh, you must be Rocky. Please, come in."

>The door swings open wider as he holds it in order to admit his roommate and Rocky. Once all are inside, both Roy and Aikawa return to their places by Strawberry's bed.

"... I'm so sorry, Rocky."


| >>560239
>Roy hangs his head. Despite trying to keep it above water internally, he feels himself starting to drown in the waves of regret that wash over him every time he looks down at Strawberry. If he had maybe pushed for a little more information before they had gotten started...

"I-I didn't know, and... neither did she. I wish I could have stopped this before it happened."

>He grimaces, brows knitting together tightly.


| >>560241
>Aikawa watches with growing concern as Roy seems to bend under the weight of his guilt. She's been present by the bedside in the past when Roy has given bad news to patients and their loved ones, and while it's never pleasant it's also not usually this... personal? This is... really getting to him. He either must have majorly fucked up, or this girl's situation is really striking a chord with him. Lacking context, she can't tell that it's actually both.


| >>560207
>"I'm... not sure who that could be to be honest. Rocky doesnt dress like that, I'm just getting there now, so just wait up."
>CN sends his message as he walks into the entrance, approaching the front desk.
"Hello my name is CN, I'm here to visit a friend of mine, Strawberry."


| >>560375
>"Rocky's up here with us. Wait there; Roy's busy begging for forgiveness and I don't think this resident could find his way out of a paper bag."

>The security officer is returning from his walk about the lobby, and catches the name "CN" as he walks by the front desk. He stops in his tracks, and addresses the decker.

"Ah, CN? One of our visitors left a message for you earlier. She would like you to know that 'Entropy' wishes to speak with you."

>Check that off the list.


| >>560349
"Ah... Be right back. Geeky's here."

>Almost as soon as she arrived, Aikawa departs again-- taking a slightly different route down to the information desk this time around as she tries to blow off steam. She chooses to use the stairs, and emerges from the stairwell door adjacent to check-in after a few minutes to be greeted by the sight of a man in a familiar blue trenchcoat.

"Hey, CN."


| >>560384
"Uh... where is this Entropy?"
>>560389
>He turns towards Aikawa
"Oh, hi. That was fast."


| >>560390
>The lilim puts a hand to his chin, thinking.

"Well, when she got here I had led her over to the sitting area, as she seemed interested in getting a coffee or something to eat... Since a short time ago I haven't seen her over there, though. Perhaps she went to the bathroom. Is she not a part of your group of visitors?"

>>560390
"Walker's the one with the bum legs, not me. Besides, didn't think we had time to waste."


| >>560392
"Er... no they're not but I guess I'll look for them after I do my visit."
>He turns back to Aikawa
"Fair point, okay lead the way"


| >>560395
"Alright. If I see her again, would you like me to notify someone? Shall I tell her that you've arrived? I am more than happy to assist in whatever way you need."


| >>560398
"Yea just tell her I'm here and where to find me."


| >>560239 >>560241

>Rocky grimaces and then gives something like an awkward pat on Roy's shoulder.

"Even if you tried, she would have done something more desperate than usual." >Rocky says, not unkindly. She heads over to the bedside and sets down the box on the ground, which, despite her gentleness, nonetheless makes a dull thumping noise. Strawberry, for her part, has stopped resisting the medications and resigned herself to simply looking miserable.

>Rocky gently rubs Strawberry's forehead.

"I'd appreciate your discretion, sirs." >Rocky says to no one in particular in the room.


| >>560395 >>560401
"Of course, Sir. I will have security comm Miss Aikawa here if she turns up again."

>Aikawa's eye twitches at the lilim's unintentional disclosure of the fact that she's been using her commlink, but assumes that CN isn't in the mood to scold her for doing so.

"Let's go."

>Up one flight of stairs, and then another... ascent is always harder than descent. Aikawa breathes a little harder than usual as she staggers out of the stairwell. Still gotta quit smoking.


| >Rocky attempts to make small talk while gently petting Strawberry.

"...So... new in town?" >She says, grinning slightly.

"Seems like there's a new healthcare provider popping up everyday in this bloody city."


| >>560402
>Roy nods at her request, the meaning of which is unclear to him. Is she asking them to keep quiet, or to step out...? He didn't quite catch Strawberry's repeated uttering of "whores burn", but figures she's been through enough of /something/ that he and Dr. Roberts might be making her uncomfortable.

"Do you... need a chaperone? Ei will be back in a second. We just need one certed staff member present if something goes south."


| >>560452

>Rocky blinks, then shakes her head.

"No, that won't be necessary." >She sighs.

"Not like we'll be going anywhere anytime soon."


| >>560451 >>560455
>Roy usually enjoys simple chatter, but isn't really sure how to handle Rocky's casual tone right now.

"Ah... yes, relatively. We moved here a little over half a year ago."

>He taps his fingers on one of the arms across his chest, trying to fill the conversation gap somehow. Half a minute later, Aikawa opens the door and shuffles through, CN in tow.

"Brought Geeky. Did I miss anything?"


| >The maid has reappeared in the sitting area, although she now carries a large case
>Her gaze is still vacant as ever, and her whole being is still, if one would look closely, they'd notice that her chest never heaves from taking breath


| >>560449
>CN follows Aikawa up the stairs and up to Strawberry's room, running into many familiar faces.
>>560459
"Hello."


| >>560459 >>560474

"...Hey, CN." >Rocky says, expressionless. She looks up.


| >>560480
>He doesn't respond, moving to the other side of the bed
"Hows Cocoa?"


| >>560493

>She looks away.


| >>560472
The lilim security officer notices the maid re-appear in the chair she had previously occupied, almost if she had materialized out of thin air. He wanders over her way, pinging Aikawa as he does so.

"Ah, Miss!"

>He waves to her, happy to be able to unite these two ships that seem to keep passing in the night.

"CN is here. I relayed your message, and he wanted me to let you know where he can be found."

>He nods earnestly.


| >>560496
>Aikawa groans quietly to herself and holds a hand to her ear as she's called yet again by the front desk. Roy turns to her, puzzled; her irritation goes unnoticed by the starstruck Dr. Roberts who seems to be carefully observing CN's every move.

"Maid's here... There anyone else I should be expecting so I can stop being shot back and forth like a pinball?"

>She raises her eyebrows and shifts her gaze to CN.


| >>560496
"My, thank you. I shall make my way on over then."
>She does a curtsy, without breaking eye contact even once
"Please, lead the way."
>Her grin expands a slight amount


| >>560498
>Rocky gives a quizzical look.

"...maid?"


| >>560495
"I think we already had enough troubles due to not communicating."
>>560498 >>560502
"Honestly I have no idea who this person is."


| >>560501
"Of course, Miss. Please follow me."

>The security officer walks the maid to the elevator, holding it for her and beckoning her inside as the door slides open.

>>560502 >>560512
>Aikawa scoffs and gives CN a dirty look; Roy also seems as though he's getting a bit peeved-- they've already welcomed 2 strangers into the room, now there's going to be another?

"If you don't know her, why'd you have me point her in your direction? This your idea of a blind date or something?"


| >>560532
>At some point during the interaction, the maid has shrunk a good two feet
>She looks like a child now, but despite that, her clothes are perfectely to size
>Her gaze is much darker now
"My, my, thanks."


| >>560512

>If Rocky's concerned, she doesn't show it, though her right hand disappears under her coat.


| >>560532
"Well it comes to me it usually ends up being for the best if I answer peoples inquiries, they usually end up finding me anyways. If you want I'll wait outside though."
>CN steps out of the room


| >>560534
>The lilim officer looks quite startled by this transformation, but deems it as being probably harmless-- the two ride the elevator in silence. Upon exiting he finds himself walking a little more slowly in order to let her tiny legs catch up to him, and eventually arrives at the on-call room's door.

"Hello, CN. I have brought Miss Entropy here to see you, as requested."

>He bows slightly.

"Please alert any of our staff if you need anything."


| >>560538
>Once CN has stepped out of the room, Roy glances at Rocky, concerned about the fact that her once soft demeanor has seemingly hardened to stone.

"Um, Rocky... is there anything we can do to help?"

>Aikawa sees Rocky dip her hand into her coat, and quickly scans the area around her for something she could use to defend... or attack. This girl is a wildcard-- like the flavor she shares her namesake with, she must be full of surprises... good, or bad.


| >>560550
>The small maid gives CN a long look with her hallow eyes, but otherwise keeps silent
>Her grin has entirely vanished as she inches closer


| >>560562
"Hello, Entropy I assume? I take it you're the one making those reports?"


| >>560563
>The maid tilts her head, and keeps staring at you
"..."
>She then sends a glance to the security officer, with her cold gaze


| >>560565
"Oh... you're Entropy's shikogami... whatever that means."


| >>560565 >>560567
>The security officer takes this as his cue to leave-- this is a bit beyond him, anyway-- some conversations are best kept private. He sidles away towards the elevator, waggling his fingers at little Entropy before he steps inside. He mouths "bye!" to her with a sympathetic grin, then boards the elevator.


| >>560567
"Indeed. I am Entro-Shol."
>As soon as the guard left, she becomes much more talkative... but her gaze does not get any less icy or empty


| >>560569
"Right... so you were looking for me?"


| >>560554
>Dr. Roberts looks like he can barely contain his excitement over CN paying the hospital a visit, and lets some of this spill over after the decker leaves the room.

"I-is that... is that really >>>him, Dr. Walker? Earlier he said you're a friend-- d-do you guys hang out?"

>Roy is beginning to regret referring to CN as 'the Dynamoforce guy,' probably just as much as geekboy dislikes being called as such.

"Yes, it's really him, Dr. Roberts..."


| >>560572
"... Not just you. The others as well."
>Her eyes settle on the door behind you
"This is an investigation, and you are a person of interest."
>A tiny grin dawns on Entro-Shol's face
"The rest stands to reason, no?"


| >>560554

>Rocky watches CN leave with a frown. At your questioning, she sighs.

"No no, you're fine, miss...?"

>>560573

>At overhearing the conversation, Rocky cracks a grin. Her hand is still hidden under her coat.


| >>560574
"Investigation about what exactly?"


| >>560576
"O-oh!"

>Roy realizes he hasn't introduced himself to Rocky yet, and extends a hand. It's pretty bad form to let patients' loved ones simply guess at who you are.

"My apologies-- I'm Roy. I'm the surgeon assigned to Strawberry's case. I'll be responsible for overseeing her care until discharge."

>He gestures to his roommate, and then to CN's fanboy.

"I believe you've already met Ei, and this is one of our Radiology residents, Dr. Roberts. It's a pleasure to meet you."


| >>560577
"That is confidential information, but as per my orders, I shall stalk you relentlessly."
>Her grin vanishes and she draws ever closer to you with her hallow gaze
"Please, do not mind me, and answer all questions."


| >>560582
"Well unfortunately I wont let you stalk me but I'll answer what I can."


| >>560587
"Your will does not matter... see me as simply a shadow. I shan't bother you more than that."
>She inches closer, almost leaning unto you
"I believe you have matters to attend, please, do not mind me."


| >>560588
"..."
>CN sighs, heading back inside
"Well excuse me stalker, but looks like I'm gonna have a follower for now. Anyways, where were we?"


| >>560595
>The maid is following behind CN, making her presence thin


| >>560595
>Dr. Roberts takes advantage of this opportunity to practically squeal as CN enters:

"You >>>already have a follower here, Nerdboy!!"

>He notes the maid clinging to him like a shadow, and gasps quietly.

"You have a personal attendant, >>>too?! かっこいい!"

>Hearing Dr. Roberts utter some really poorly pronounced Tokyo slang, Aikawa rolls her eyes so hard that they could have popped out of her head if pushed further. Roy bites back a laugh.


| >>560600
>The maid curtsies
"My name is Entro-Shol, I am CN-Yuol's Loli Slave."
>She says without a hint of sarcasm


| >>560600
"Uh... nice to meet you...?"
>>560601
"What nonsense are you spewing!? I just met you!"


| >>560602
>She simply tilts her head, as if you had said the dumbest thing in the world
"Of course, that was a joke. Would anyone truly believe that?"
>She puts her head back straight
"I am in fact his Sex-Slave."


| >>560601 >>560602
>All traces of amusement slowly drain from the faces of the hospital staff, who one by one turn their gaze towards CN until all eyes are locked on him. The atmosphere of the room has shifted noticeably.

".........."

>Even Dr. Roberts seems a little perturbed.


| >>560603
"What!?"
>CN looks panicked
>>560604
"G-Guys, dont just believe her! Did you forget she was looking for me in the hospital just earlier!?"


| >>560604
>Aikawa decides to try her hand at twisting the knife a little. Voice dripping with a mix of disgust and apprehension, she speaks:

"Geeky... you >>>do know you're standing in a room full of mandated reporters, right?"


| >>560605
>The maid lowers her head
"So you will not take responsibility? Even though my body can no longer live without you..."
>Her voice is deadpan, serious and cold
"..."


| >>560606
"Aikawa you're not helping!?"
>>560607
"The only person I've had sex with is my fiance!"


| >>560608
"Of course, that would stand to reason. Is your brain an ornament?"
>The maid says, deadpan
"I am Entro-Shol, Maid, please do not mind me, or my existence."


| >>560607 >>560605
>Joking or not, this is taking things a bit too far. The corner of Roy's mouth twitches, gradually pulling downward into a frown.

"CN..."

>>560608
>At the mention of the word 'fiance,' a very palpable wave of shock and surprise travels throughout the room. All the staff wear different expressions-- but their exclamation is the same, and is said in perfect unison:

"You're >>>engaged?!"


| >>560609
"..."
>CN looks like hes going to have a heart attack


| >>560610
"Why are you more surprised about the fiance thing!?"


| >>560611
>The maid takes a step back, a tiny grin on her face


| >>560611 >>560612
>Luckily, Geeky happens to be in the best place to have an MI. The stunned silence following CN's reveal of his relationship status is broken by Roy congratulating him, Aikawa giving a polite golf clap as she intones "おめでとう," and Dr. Roberts starting to bounce up and down where he stands. Hopefully the enthusiasm shared between the three will shock him back into a normal rhythm before they have to whip out the adenosine.


| >>560614
>CN takes a deep sigh
"I appreciate the congratulations but the engagement isnt really a new thing... we've been engaged for close to a year now.:


| >>560615
>Around the room reactions vary: Roy wears a wistful grin, Aikawa appears slightly uncomfortable, and Dr. Roberts nods eagerly-- wishing to hear more.

"When are you gonna tie the knot, Nerdboy?"

>Dr. Roberts makes as if he's going to grab his phone out of his pocket-- to do... what, exactly? Program the wedding date into his personal schedule?



| >>560620
"Uh... we havent really decided yet to be honest. We havent done much planning yet."


| >>560625
>Roy nods understandingly.

"I'm sure being up to your eyeballs in the personal problems of GC's citizens leaves you kind of short on time to do things like that."

>Dr. Roberts nods in agreement; Aikawa remains silent and tries to find something else in the room to look at. She settles on Strawberry and her... 'sister in a matter of speaking'-- since they're a large part of the reason why she's here right now, after all.


| >>560632
"Er... yeah. Either way, let's save my love life for another convo shall we?


| >>560634
>Aikawa mutters something under her breath while she's turned away from the three men and the maid.

"... why bother; I'm sure it'll turn up on next week's episode of Dynamoforce... must suck to have parts of your personal life on display..."

>She throws a glance over her shoulder towards Roy, then shakes her head. Had they made eye contact, he probably would have felt like she was boring holes in him with her stare. Fortunately, he's none the wiser.


| >Rocky's expression had changed from a mischievous grin to an actual smile as she quietly followed the conversation from perversion to wholesomeness, but as the group quiets down and returns to her and Strawberry, so does her mostly neutral mask.


| >>560661
>CN sighs
"Anyways... how is Strawberry?:


| >>560661
>The gradual shift in Rocky's demeanor doesn't go unnoticed by the two roommates-- Roy turns his attention back to his patient after this brief moment of entertaining banter, and sees that the bottom has dropped out of her smile.

"Rocky, ah... you had... mentioned stabilizing her? She still needs major surgery; antibiotics to prevent infection and sepsis from her burns..."

>Roy wasn't lying when he mentioned how he'll be following this from start to finish.


| >>560664 >>560665

"Is that so..." >Rocky says, a hint of suspicion dotting her voice.

"Did anyone else request to see her after she was admitted?"


| >>560674
"As far as I know no, especially not anyone from your team."
>CN chimes in
"They're all accounted for elsewhere."


| >>560676

"Not all of them." >Rocky looks from CN to the others grimly.

"Have you seen a short girl, about this high, most likely wearing a raggedy plaid coat and a beanie?" >The height she shows is a bit short.

"...probably smells of cannabis."


| >>560676
>Roy ponders this question while Dr. Roberts flips through Strawberry's chart-- hoping to find some info as the surgeon racks his brain.

".........."

>He sighs, and goes through a manner of different 'thinking poses'-- a hand moving from his chin, to the side of his face and then to his forehead...

"Well, it wasn't a request and it wasn't 'after' she was admitted, but... Dr. Xiria was apparently very insistent on accompanying her into the emergency ward."


| >>560677
>None of the staff are able to attest to seeing someone who fits this description. Roy has basically been glued to the side of Strawberry's bed since he was forced to participate in his consult with Dr. Edison; Aikawa arrived not too long ago, and Dr. Roberts has spent most of his shift next to the CT scanner where he belongs.

"... Can call downstairs and ask for you."

>Aikawa volunteers, for want of something to do.


| >>560678

"Doctor 'Xiria'?" >Rocky asks quizzically.


| >>560681
>Aikawa and Dr. Roberts also look to Roy for an answer.

"That's... how she was introduced to me. She's supposedly a master surgeon-- a real prodigy, or something. She seems awfully young, though..."

>Roy puts his hands on his hips and taps his good foot, turning the evening's events over in his head over again for the nth time.



| >>560682

"'How she was introduced to you?'" >Rocky says, eyes narrowing.

"You mean she's not an employee here?"


| >>560682
didn't mean to put 'over' twice, whoops


| >>560680

"I would greatly appreciate that." >Rocky says, biting her lip.


| >>560684
>Roy is now becoming acutely aware of how non-reassuring his answer was, and feels himself getting nervous since continuing onward isn't going to make this sound better.

"... Over the phone. The MD who first assessed Strawberry called me for a consult right after we roomed her, and I guess she was in the bay with him at that time."

>>560686
>Aikawa nods.

"Sure."

>Picking up the room's phone, she tries to save Roy's sorry ass:

"Maybe Chien'll know something."


| [Emergency Ward, Nurse's Station]
>Chien sits in the back room, face flat against the table-- trying to rest with every tiny sliver of time he has left during his break. The phone next to the fridge rings, and he eyes it with contempt. Calling the break room? A taboo if there ever was one, for sure.

"... Nobody paged you, go back to sleep."

"Good evening to you too, jackass."

"Aikawa?!"

"Wanna go ahead and tell the whole unit I'm back?! Slam it; I don't want Ella to know!"


| >>560689
>Aikawa lowers her voice, and Chien does the same.

"Listen, Walker had me come back to help with something. We're stuck. You got anybody down there who reeks of weed?"

>Does he?

"While I've got you on the line... know anything about a 'Dr. Xiria'?"

>Chien makes kind of a frustrated sounding growl into the phone, which is also audible to anyone standing remotely close to Aikawa.

"I'll take that as a yes. Spill."


| >Chien proceeds to tell Aikawa exactly what he thinks of Dr. Xiria-- amidst her frequent responses of "mmhmm," "uh-huh," and "yeah," there is a break in conversation where puts her foot down and tells him firmly to save his opinions for later. There is a pause, and the speech on the other end of the phone becomes considerably less pressured.

"... Chien says that Xiria was in the lobby when he picked up Strawberry to wheel her off to the unit."

>She waits for him to continue.


| >>560694
"... She kept saying a bunch of stuff about how 'unsightly' the nursing staff were, but spoke very highly of the clinicians..."

>She gives Roy a questioning look, to which he shrugs in response.

"She's a boomer. Has a really strange personality... Wait, she had a business card?"

>Chien chatters some more, and another voice can be heard joining the conversation: the tech who tried to keep Xiria from interfering with Strawberry's treatment.


| >>560696
"... Huh. Okay, hang on a sec--"

>Aikawa covers the mouthpiece of the phone with her hand, and turns to look at Rocky.

"Xiria Salasia, senior surgeon at GCPD Memorial. Chien thinks she might still be here; if you want I can have him check the room he last saw her in."


| >>560697
>She puts the handset back up to her ear, as Chien can still be heard talking on the other line, clearly having something else to add.

"Gathered as much..."

>She glances back at Rocky again.

"Says she's a huge, arrogant fucking glitch in a deceivingly innocuous looking package."

>It's not clear if she's quoting the nurse exactly, or if it was her choice to censor the word 'bitch'. Judging by the giggling heard on the other line, it's the latter. Roy tries not to grin.


| >>560677
"Mmm... I dont know where Mint is exactly but I know who was last taking care of her. I told Vanilla before she passed out."


| >>560688 >>560697 >>560796

>As Rocky listens to the explanation, the tenseness of the room seems to tighten as a shadow drops over her face. She picks up the large rectangular box and slings it over her shoulder-

>>560801

>Only for the atmosphere to break slightly as Geekboy responds.

"Taking care of her!? Who?" >Rocky says, blurting out. Her previously dangerous expression molds into one of confusion.

"And Vanilla pass-" >Something dawns for her.

"...Oh hell, so that's why-" >She facepalms.


| >>560820
"A friend of mine, OS, left her with a colleague of theirs to treat her injuries, she seemed to have gotten attacked in a bar. I can contact them to get some details though, and that's why... what?"


| >>560824

"...nothing." >Rocky says- you hear a sniffle under her hand before she removes it, her expression neutral again.

"How injured was she?"


| >>560835
"...I didnt know the details of it but... worse than Strawberry."


| >>560820 >>560824 >>560835 >>560862
>Aikawa and Roy listen in on this exchange, very much out of the loop.

"Um... if you know her location, do you need Ei to pick her up and bring her here?"

>Aikawa resents having been treated as an errand boy since Rocky's arrival-- but to a degree it is within her job description to shuttle people back and forth to and from the hospital. She finishes talking with Chien and hangs up, waiting for further instruction.


| >>560871
"I dont know where she is, I just know the person who knows where she is."


| >>560896
"Quite reassuring."
>The maid comments quietly


| >>560896 >>560900
>Aikawa smirks as the maid voices her exact thoughts. Her deadpan delivery makes it even better.

"... You're a real treasure trove of information, Geeky..."


| >>560915
"Hey, I would had asked for more details at the time, but I was kind of in a hurry trying to save everyone else I cared about as they were being attacked in our home by a Corp and their hired PMC."


| >>560918
"I see, so CN is an incompetent wretch... I shall take note of this."
>The maid nods, deadpan


| >>560920
"You're a cruel investigator..."


| >>560921
"Did it seem like I was insulting you? I am quite sorry, please let me rephrase that."
>She coughs once
"I was mocking you."


| >>560920 >>560922
>As the maid continues antagonizing CN, Aikawa has a change of heart and throws him a bone. He is trying to help keep her from ending up 6 feet under, after all-- and as far as she's aware, he's doing it for absolutely nothing in return.

"Think that's a little harsh... I--"
>>560921

"'Investigator'? The hell is she investigating?"


| >>560922
"Does your boss hate me that much..."


| >>560929
"All of us apparently. She wont tell me why though."


| >>560929
"That is none of your concern, and you shouldn't worry. I have no connexion to shadowy businesses or individuals. If you catch my drift."
>She steps back


| >>560930
"I represent my master only in my presence, my opinions are my own."
>She tilts her head


| >>560933
"Oh so *you* just hate me, great to know..."


| >>560931 >>560932
>Roy and Aikawa's ears prick up as the maid essentially tells them to mind their business. Roy straightens his posture and Aikawa comes out of her crouch next to the phone, until both stand at their full heights.

"'Scuse me, but this is >>>very much our concern."

>Roy nods, backing Aikawa up.

"I have to agree. Patient confidentiality is a top priority. If Strawberry hasn't consented to you learning about her care... you can't stay here."


| >>560945

ゴゴゴゴ

>From behind, Rocky approaches, the heavy rectangular object slung across her shoulder.


| >>560945
"I care not for that patient, merely for CN. I shall sign any papers you want to bind my words on her. But so long as I was ordered to investigate, I shall."
>The maid's smile has vanished
"To be frank, and in my own words, I care not to propagate the situation concerning this women, nor your practices on her."


| >>560951
>Roy and Aikawa don't notice Rocky creeping up behind them, as they're too busy dealing with the patient information breach looming over their heads by means of the maid in the room. Dr. Roberts has also joined in staring her down.

>>560957
"You say CN; Geeky says all of us-- who are you >>>really here to spy on?"

>Aikawa looks down the bridge of her nose at the maid, and crosses her arms across her chest.


| >>560988
>The maid doesn't budge
"That is confidential information. Surely you understand what that is."
>Was that sarcasm? Her legs are shaking a little though


| >>560996
>Aikawa doesn't appreciate the maid's flippant response, and grinds the heel of her foot into the floor, getting frustrated. There's too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen right now, and if some of them can be dismissed it'd definitely make this easier. If you've got a job to do, you've got to do it well...

"Did I >>>stutter, omae?"

>... You've gotta give the other fella hell. Aikawa would have preferred to end that sentence with a curse, but holds her tongue for now.


| >>561005
"Are you so retarded that you can't tell?"
>The maid sighs deeply
"Such pointless questions. Are all human brains just ornaments? Where is that 'Wisdom of mankind' thing I keep hearing about... quite the tragedy."
>Her legs are still shaking, a lot


| >>561009
>Her fuse having burned close to its end, Aikawa takes a sudden step forward and rolls up one of her sleeves.

"われ--!"

>The rolled 'r' in the oath comes out like a loud growl, which startles Roy enough to reach out and grab Aikawa's shoulder before she gets any closer to falling to fisticuffs with the maid on the floor. Distracted, she whips around as she tries to shrug out of his grip.

"--Fuck off, Walker--!!"


| >CN walks outside the room
"I believe this should solve all our issues no? Patient confidentiality is maintained and we dont have to get mad at each other no?"


| >>561016
>The maid, out of reflex, goes to hide behind CN
"Such a small person. Getting angry at mere words. If you are not looking for a quip, why speak?"
>There's sweat dribbling on her forehead, but her voice is just as cold as her face
"I'd want anyone other than you to treat my injuries, who knows when you'd snap."


| >>561031
"..."
>CN decides to stay quiet, simply closing the door to prevent this from escalating further.


| >Rocky stands in the doorway and sets down her box, blocking it.

"CN, can I trust you to bring Mint here?"

>She looks to the two clinical staff.

"I think, given the circumstances, I can trust these two to handle her care."


| >>561031
>Roy manages to get a hold of Aikawa again and jerks her backwards by the arm, trying to turn her around and away from the maid as he does so.

"Ei, Ei-- Ei, stop--"

>His tone is oddly level-- he's either really good at diffusing tense situations, or he's done this quite a few times already. Aikawa struggles against his grasp for a moment, trying to wrench her forearm from his hand.

"ちゃう, ちゃう, ちゃう, ちゃう--"

>Growing red in the face, she shakes her head forcefully.


| >>561035
"Hmm... perhaps, if I do, will you consider stop being so skittish with me about... well *everything*? Given recent events I think we should end some of the secrecy no?"


| >>561033
"I cannot help but question your choice of acquaintances."
>The maid wipes the sweat off her brow
"That surely took a year off my lifespan."


| >>561035 >>561041
>Roy gives her arm a firm squeeze, and after a couple of seconds Aikawa gives up wrestling with him in favor of concealing her wounded pride from the aptly named maid. While Rocky's words would normally serve as encouragement and lighten her mood some, they go unacknowledged by the frazzled paramedic. Roy speaks for her:

"I appreciate your vote of confidence, Rocky."

>He chooses to take her words as an expression of faith rather than choosing a last resort.


| >>561044
"I should be so >>>lucky--"

>Aikawa begins to snarl back at the maid when Roy gives her a very pointed look, prompting her to finish that statement however she'd like in her head rather than out loud.

>>561033 >>561030

>Roy frowns at CN, irked and disappointed by the fact that his solution to all of this is to jump ship rather than address the drama he (unintentionally) created. Some shonen hero...


| >>561042

"I'll... consider it." >Rocky says.


| >>561044
"Maybe you shouldnt push buttons... especially when you're shaking. I dont appreciate the secrecy either but... the last thing we need is a full blown argument, so me leaving the room is the only solution to defuse the situation."
>>561049
"*Sigh*... fine, not like I was expecting any different of an answer."


| >>561050

"CN, if you must know-" >Rocky says, exasperated,

"All of us are kept in the dark *on purpose* for our own safety. I'd think that someone like you of all people would appreciate that."


| >>561052
"Rocky while I was kept in the dark, a major pharmaceutical Corp underwent a coup, instigated by another who also attacked us on the same day. Being kept in the dark didnt help, if anything it probably would had been better if we were working together at the time and sharing info."


| >>561050
>The maid shrugs
"She asked for it, stupid questions will get stupid answers."


| >Right outside the room stands a smiling Xiria... Wait where was she for the last hour or two??
"Are you done~? I'm itching to do something now?"
>She gives the maid a stare and a head tilt
"Haven't I seen you somewhere before? I wouldn't forget a beautiful maid~"
>Her cat ears twitch


| >>561055
"You get more answers with honey than vinegar."


| >>561057
>The maid shrugs
"Then she should act nicer to me, instead of trying to pressure an answer I don't want to give out."
>Her grin reappears for a bit
"You do give proper advice, it seems."


| >>561056
>Roy recognizes the sound of Xiria's voice and looks up to see her idling in the doorway whilst admiring the maid. Here we go...

"Rocky, CN... this is the aforementioned Dr. Xiria-- er, Dr. Salasia, actually-- according to what Ei said earlier."

>>561055 >>561057 >>561059

>Aikawa's fuming continues as the maid goes on with her smug retorts. She grits her teeth when she hears Entro-shol twist CN's words into something meant to piss her off further.


| >>561057
"Flies, Geeky. Flies."

>Having had that idiom used to admonish her several times in the past, Aikawa has it committed to memory... and can't stand to hear it said.

"She's right, CN. It's 'flies,' not 'answers.'"

>Roy happens to be the person who's made a habit of repeating this to her. Hearing him clarify exactly how the saying goes adds further insult to injury.


| >>561062
"Salasia? You must be mistaken?"
>Xiria is confused, and her cat ears twitch harder
"I am Xiria, yes? It is so, had the CN and this... Person want to speak with me?"
>She says as she walks towards Aikawa and gives her an odd look and a small pat on the back, being short, she couldnt reach her head.



| >>561067
>Roy and Aikawa are equally puzzled-- both received this information secondhand, so they can't exactly verify it-- but, Chien isn't one to lie.

"Nurse said it was on your business card..."

>Aikawa's eyes follow Xiria around the room before the little catboomer comes to a stop behind her and reaches up to tap her lower back. Aikawa is surprised when she connects, and turns away from Roy to peer down at Xiria.

"Talking about me?"

>She points a thumb towards herself.


| >>561059
"Just shush... or next time I wont save you."
>>561063
"I-I was adapting it..."


| >>561070
"It is my *Familly* name? Isnt it? My name is Xiria, so reffer to me as such~? If you wish Xiria-Tan is also fine-"
>The little catboomer nods to herself and looks at Aikawa before pointing at Rocky
"This one no?"


| >>561078
>Roy shrugs, and figures he may as well continue calling her "Dr. Xiria" since that's what he's been doing since they met-- he does the same thing, after all. Many of the clinicians within the hospital insist that patients and coworkers always use their credentials when referring to them; Roy has fortunately never been that picky.

"Oh, uh... yeah, that one."

>Aikawa had figured Xiria meant Rocky, but wasn't quite sure. She nods awkwardly, and points as well.


| >>561050 >>561053
>As CN gives yet another iteration of the short lecture she was subjected to at the Blue Lantern, Aikawa bites her tongue and tries to dampen whatever sound is making its way to her ears. The maid isn't too far off about her teetering on the edge of having her mind snap-- and she's also rapidly drawing close to giving Geekboy a thorough lambasting. The blackout and its sequelae have eroded her patience and ability to keep her temper mostly under control.


| >>561182
>Roy starts to notice Aikawa's shoulders creeping up towards her ears as she grows more and more tense. Wanting to head off another outburst, he turns to Rocky and then CN, asking quietly:

"Um... would it... be okay if we stepped out for a minute?"

>Neither Roy nor Aikawa have had any sort of time to debrief or come down from the chaos they've been thrown in the middle of today. For them to keep functioning as a team, at least one of them has to.


| >>561242

>Rocky shrugs.

"Sure."


| >>561246
>Roy puts his hand on one of Aikawa's shoulders and slowly tries to ease it downward.

"Thanks; we shouldn't be long. Come on, Ei."

>He gives her a little nudge towards the door, and she jumps for a second before hunching over a bit and moving forward, muttering to herself. Roy follows, trying not to catch his exo frame on Strawberry's bed as he walks away. Before the two disappear out the door completely, Roy flashes Rocky a less than confident thumbs up.


| >>561247
>The sound of their footsteps gradually quiets as they move down the hall, the clicking of Roy's exoskeleton fading into the background noise of distant beeping and conversation. Silence, then the soft murmuring of a single voice. The gentle tone rises and falls repeatedly-- whoever is speaking is asking a lot of questions. This is interrupted once or twice by the sound of something tapped or scuffed forcefully against the floor.


| >The maid remains silent as the two leave, her face still impassable
>When they get out of earshot, she turns to CN
"I must apologize for calling your choice of acquaintances poor. That women will go places I never could."
>She goes back to being silent


| >>561255
"You should tell her that then..."
>CN sighs
>>561246
"Anyways, we can't do much for Strawberry now until after her procedure, I'll try to get in contact with Mint to see hows she's doing."


| >>561251
>Another voice, maybe half an octave higher, begins compete with the first-- making frequent interjections at widely varying volumes. If one were to assume Aikawa was its owner, they'd be correct. She seems to be getting progressively louder each time she speaks, in stark contrast with Roy's maintenance of a very level tone throughout.


| >>561305
>Barely audible conversation continues to ebb and flow, until there is a very sharp spike in volume-- and emotion. There is a frustrated and pained sounding yell that's cut short by the sound of something being struck-- hard. This banging repeats a few times, and if one were to stand close to the door they may catch snippets of the profanity that Aikawa is hell-bent on spewing.


| >>561275
"I'm far too embarrassed to admit it."
>The maid sighs
"I suppose I will apologize in due time."


| >>561306
"--...cking hotshot bithead--!!"

>A couple of loud 'thuds' in succession.

"...s he get off--... --ple how to act?!"

>Another blow, slightly less forceful.

"--Christ--!! We get it-- y... cking save the-- ... --ity's ass for a fucking living!!"

>Roy seems to just be letting her go.

"WHY IS--... --SY FOR HIM T--... --FECT LITTLE F--... --CEKEEPER?!!"

>Where one would expect a bang, there suddenly isn't.

"... what about the rest of us...?!"

>And then, nothing.


| "..." >Rocky raises a hand to her temple.


| >>561316
"..."
>CN slumps his shoulders a little
"Maybe I should go..."


| "... I think so too." >She looks you over.

"... after you get those ribs checked."


| >>561316
>So much for containing /that/ explosion. There's a muted hiss that echoes down the hall as someone inhales sharply through their teeth, followed by a suffocated-sounding low moan.

"Augh, fuck...! ... Fuck me running...!! S--"

>Their voice suddenly becomes muffled-- as if spoken into thick fabric, then quiets.

"Ei... you've got to put this aside for right now."

>A mumbled response with an intonation that sounds like "I know, I know" is heard.


| >>561331
>There's another pause, and then the sound of someone desperately trying to bite back what would have become a frustrated cry.

"Just... don't know how he does it... how >>>you do it, I can't--"

>Her voice rings clear as a bell down the corridor. She must have been covering her face before.

"You don't need to be like that, it's okay! What's not okay is to go off like this. Look, I'm..."

>Roy lowers his voice.

"I'm freaking out too, Ei. I'm sure it's the same for him."


| "mm..." >Rocky mumbles. She gently rubs Strawberry's forehead- the girl has, mercifully, fallen asleep.


| >>561330
"I guess... I'm no doctor but I know theres not much that will heal them any faster though."
>>561332
>CN looks outside to the screaming pair
"Maybe some pain meds might help though..."


| >>561332
>There is a long, loud sigh followed by a brief, soft shuffling or rustling noise. Complete silence.

>>561327 >>561330
>Dr. Roberts perks up when he hears Rocky mention something about CN's ribs. What better an opportunity to flaunt his radiology knowledge?

"Did something happen, Nerdboy? What's the matter with your ribs?"


| >>561336
>CN sees a startled looking Roy holding his hands away from Aikawa, who has... planted her face in his chest? Her arms hang limp by her sides; her right hand badly bruised and starting to swell a bit. She's as still as stone.

"I >>>so hope you aren't dead."

>Slowly, Roy lowers his arms and cautiously wraps them around her shoulders, the back of Aikawa's head held in one of his hands. The "screaming" portion of the "screaming pair" seems to be done screaming, for now.


| >>561339
>He quickly turns back, giving them the privacy.
>>561338
"Er... yea. I got a few rounds from a minigun during an attack at my place. Thankfully I wear protection so nothing really penetrated but it bruised the hell out of my chest, so a couple of my ribs are pretty fractured if not broken."


| >>561339
>Roy shakes his head gently.

"I'm not. I promised, remember?"

>>561340
>Roy spies CN darting back into the on-call room out of the corner of his eye, and quickly looks down to see if Aikawa had noticed that for a moment, they had an audience. Fortunately, she hasn't; and Roy isn't the one out of the two of them who cares about this sort of thing, anyway.

>Meanwhile, Dr. Roberts claps his hands together, excited.

"Let's get you down to imaging, Geekboy!"


| >>561341
"Er... sure. I'd appreciate if this is on the down low."


| >>561343
>Dr. Roberts doesn't seem to understand the implications behind CN's statement, but tries to reassure him nonetheless.

"Of course! You heard what Dr. Walker and his..."

>He still has no real idea of who Aikawa is, and struggles to find an appropriate label for her.

"... sidekick said: patient confidentiality is a top priority here."

>He beams proudly. That ought to let Geeky know he's in good hands!


| >>561341
>After a few minutes, Roy and his 'sidekick' file back into the room. Head down and shoulders forward, Aikawa enters first, looking like she wants to disappear. She tries not to make eye contact with anyone in the room-- especially the maid, whom she's just proven right beyond a shadow of a doubt. Roy is second, and walks through the door with his arms across his chest; he rubs them as if they were cold, but with significantly less vigor and more or less absentmindedly.


| >>561340
>Roy gives CN a very guilty look, hoping the sentiment he's trying to get across is clear on his face: 'I know you just heard all that, and holy fuck I am so, so sorry.' He clears his throat uncomfortably.

"Ah... thanks... thanks for waiting, everybody."

>He grins nervously. Roy is used to /talking/ about 'the elephant in the room,' but /being/ said elephant is very new to him.


| >>561349
"No problem..."
>CN coughs
"Uh... Dr. Robert's said he was going to scan my chest to check on my injuries so I'll return in a bit."


| >>561350
>Roy nods, and Aikawa... looks like she wants to say something, but doesn't. She glances at CN for a split second, then averts her gaze almost immediately and jams her hands in her pockets.

"Please follow me, Dynamofriend! We'll go downstairs to see Alex and Dr. Joga in one of our CT suites."

>Dr. Roberts thinks he's being clever and endearing by calling CN this; everyone else in the room just thinks he's being an idiot and cringes inwardly.


| [Radiology Department, CT Suite 2]
>After closing off Suite 1 upon realizing Strawberry had leaked fuel onto the table and potentially into the machine, Alex and Dr. Joga have since re-located and are now tending to the neighboring CT scanner. There's a gap in the steady stream of patients that have been making their way to imaging-- both Alex and Dr. Joga have taken advantage of this and are trying to catch some z's when Dr. Joga's pager sounds.

"... It's... Dr. Roberts..."


| >>561347
>The maid seems to stare down Aikawa but says nothing, instead turning to follow the leaving CN


| >>561353
>The maid's cutting comment from earlier rings in Aikawa's ears as she watches her follow the decker out of the room. She feels herself growing red-- if she wasn't already. That spooky little girl really hit her where it hurts, to the point where she fell neatly into the trap that she felt was set up for her. She runs a hand over the upper half of her face and through her hair, apparently beginning to mull something over.


| >>561351
"J-Just CN is fine..."
>He says as he follows the doctor


| >>561352
>Dr. Joga tries to rub the sleep out of her eyes, hoping her bleary vision made her misread the message on her pager... sadly, the words scrolling across the display remain unchanged.

"He says--"

>She yawns deeply, and shakes her hair from off her shoulders.

"... he says..."

>She squints, reciting the resident's exact words.

'"possibl mult rib fx, need CT w/o contrst, brngin a frend :D'"

>Dr. Joga groans loudly, fully waking Alex from his slumber.


| >>561355
>The short trip down to Radiology is filled with Dr. Roberts' chipper chatter, as he tries to make sure that this'll be a shift he never forgets. CN... probably won't forget it either, much as he may try.

"Were you seen in the ER already, >>>Mr. CN?"

>Close, Dr. Roberts, but not quite.

"As much as broken ribs themselves can be worrisome, the complications related to them are even more so."

>Aikawa had said something similar in the bar.


| >>561356
"Jeez, Isobel-- I was just getting to the good part of my dream, too..."

>Dr. Joga rolls her eyes while Alex stretches and tries to shake his tired blood back into his limbs. Both pull on their lab coats and try to look busy while they await the arrival of Dr. Roberts and their mystery patient.

"... Who do you think the 'frend' is?"

>Alex shrugs.

"No idea. Could be anybody; guy's kind of a weirdo. Why'd you assume I'd know?"

>Dr. Joga doesn't answer.


| >>561358
"No not yet, I don't think they're too serious though, I haven't had any complications breathing, just pain in my upper chest."


| >>561361
>Dr. Roberts' eyes slide over to meet CN's. His expression is a very serious one, as he perceives GC's own Robinhood to be in grave danger based on this information alone.

"... A sharp end of a fracture in one of your first three ribs, near the top of your rib cage could rupture your aorta."

>... Still gotta work on that bedside manner, Dr. Roberts-- and remember, the number one rule: only tell them what they need to know.


| [Surgical Department, On-Call Room]
>After CN leaves, Roy slumps against the wall and sighs deeply, though he feels that no matter how hard he breathes in, he'll still be winded. Reining Aikawa in while he himself is running on empty is exhausting. He turns back to Strawberry, and reviews the readouts on the different monitors she's attached to.

"So... What's the next step here, Rocky?"

>No matter what, he's got to keep pushing forward, though.


| >>561423 >>561078
>Roy looks down at Xiria, whom he believes is also waiting to speak with Strawberry's keeper. If he really does let her assist with the removal of that piece of metal... how is she going to even reach the table? He makes a mental note to have the circulating nurse grab the most stable step stool they have available in the event that Xiria is to be handed a scalpel... or to just have them lower the table, but that'll leave him with a very sore back tomorrow. Hmm...


| >>561423
"I would alsp like to know? Waiting has caused me to become quite giddy, and I think decisive action is the way to go~?"
>Xiria says with a nod to herself


| >>561363
"I'm... aware of the risks, hence why I'm getting this scan."
>CN doesnt really seem perturbed by this information
"No use thinking about the worst case scenario right away though."


| >>561439
>Dr. Roberts nods and gives a nervous frown. How large of a dose of Xanax is this guy on? Maybe there was some truth to Aikawa's outburst in the hallway...

"I... would think you would have gotten this done sooner if you were really concerned, rather than at your friend's insistence."

>He regrets saying this the minute it leaves his mouth. Talking smack to your idol? Roberts, you imbecile!


| >>561441
"No you're right, I should had gotten it sooner, but I didnt really have the opportunity to do it until just now since I was helping my team move and treating their injuries as well. The kids especia- uh."
>He quickly silences himself, seemingly saying something he shouldnt have.


| >>561453
"Kids? On your team?"

>Dr. Roberts seems confused. Although he's quite the fan of CN, there's obviously a lot he doesn't know about the guy. What he does know, however, is that children should really have their injuries treated professionally.

"Are you using that word in a colloquial sense? If they're >>>actually kids... they should be examined in a hospital."

>He purposely doesn't specify /their/ hospital-- the pediatric emergency wing is short on staff right now.


| >>561438
>Aikawa side eyes the little boomer, trying to figure out what her 'deal' is, and why Chien was so shitted off after spending some time in the trauma bay with her. She makes it a personal policy to try not to let other people's opinions color her judgement of anyone she's coming across for the first time. Right now, she thinks Xiria seems relatively harmless-- just very eccentric, at most.


| >>561423

"...about how long will the surgery on her abdomen take?" >Rocky says, eyeing the injury. By this point, Strawberry has closed her eyes.

>>561438

>Rocky eyes the catboomer, suspicion tight on her face.

"If *you're* going to operate on her, I request remaining present in the OR."


| >>561481
>Roy places a hand on the hip joint of his exo, and the other on his chin, thinking.

"... It's hard to say. Our focus right now is to remove the main foreign body and fix any life-threatening tissue damage... Sometimes when we open patients up, we can get more than we bargained for, though. If that happens, there are situations where it's okay to close and come back later-- but until we're in there we don't know if that's the case."


| >>561487

"Mmm..." >She bites her thumb, thinking.

"Then, let me ask you a different question."

>She gives you a piercing stare.

"How well do you trust the staff here? And the upper management?"


| >>561481
>He sighs, and rubs the back of his head as he tries to come up with a slightly less vague estimate. Modern medicine has expedited surgical procedures greatly, but at the same time Roy is nothing if not meticulous.

"... A few hours. 2, 3 at maximum. I can't rush this, she's not stable enough for that."

>Hearing her comment about Xiria, he clarifies:

"Ah... I may >>>possibly have her assist me, but I believe she's here to observe more than anything else."


| >>561492

"That will have to do..." >Rocky looks from you, back to Doctor Xiria, and then back to you.

"I request that the number of attending physicians be kept as tight as possible during her surgery, and-" >She places a hand to her forehead- unintentionally, her voice drops to a whisper, but not so quiet that Xiria can't hear her.

"If at any point you receive a request from the outside for someone else to see her- whether they claim to be government or family-" >She tries to hide a gulp.

"...Deny it." >She looks down at Strawberry.

"Anyone else who would visit is either incapacitated or in this building, right now. No matter what they say, please-" >She looks back up.

"Don't let them come here."


| >>561462
"They're not really part of the team, we just take care of them. Dont worry I already got them professional help for their injuries, though they were much minor in comparison to mine."


| >>561481
"I see you do not trust me, how sad? Well they never do I guess~"
>Xiria sighs and shakes her head
"I supose I will take a backseat, ahhh how truly unsightly"
>>561496
>Xiria smiles after hearing the last bit and also replies in a low tone
"I had known you to be in trouble? But this much~? Beautiful is the way of life, Mister Roy, I suppose you see no problem to honour such a request right~?"


| >>561491
>Roy seems bewildered by Rocky's hesitancy to trust the staff in general, given the length Roy and his team have gone to keep quiet about Strawberry and prevent further harm from coming to her. He remembers her situation though, and thinks well before he speaks.

"... I would trust my fellow staff with my life. Upper management... I trust not to disclose any of my personal information or use me like a guinea pig. Just like everyone else here, I'm dispensable, though."


| >>561496
>Roy nods. Rocky's requests are more than reasonable.

"Consider it done... Ms. Raccoon."

>Apparently, Roy didn't pick up on the naming convention of Strawberry and her friends. Aikawa gets the (very bad) joke, and rolls her eyes as she mutters something under her breath.

>>561510
>For some reason, being called 'Mr. Roy' causes the surgeon to blush.

"N-no, no problem at all, Dr. Xiria."


| >>561497
>Dr. Roberts decides not to question CN further, as the group has just arrived outside the doors of CT Suite 2. He knocks before entering, which is... entirely unnecessary, and holds the door open so his guests can file into the room.

>Once inside, you can see Alex and Dr. Joga sitting in the observation area, apparently having a heated discussion over something.

"-- I'm just saying, you talk to him more--"

"--But, he works under >>>you, Isobel!"


| >>561532
>The two look up to see Dr. Roberts, the maid, and CN standing next to the scanner, staring at them through the glass.

"That's the 'friend'...? Wait, is that--?"

>Alex's eyes open wide, and he stands up at his desk, trying to get a better view.

"Shit, I think it is!!"

>Dr. Joga rises to her feet as well, and the two wander out of the little 'control room' to greet their rather high profile patient.


| >>561536
"Uh... hello."
>CN apprehensively greets the new staff, worried how close their reactions will match Dr. Roberts.


| >>561545
"You're quite the star it seems."
>The maid listlessely comments


| >>561545 >>561570
>Fortunately, neither Alex nor Dr. Joga are awake enough to flip their shit over the fact that The Actual Geekboy is standing in front of them, waiting to have his ribs examined.

"P--... Pleasure to meet you. My name is Dr. Joga; I'm the radiologist overseeing Dr. Roberts. I'll be responsible for the final interpretation of your imaging results today."

>She extends a hand, her dark eyes just a little lighter than usual.


| >>561570
"Not by choice..."
>>561605
>CN extends his hand in returns
"It's good to meet you doctor... uh, about how long will this take?"


| >>561605
>Alex decides to take the initiative and introduce his own damned self this time.

"A-and I'm Alex. I'll be assisting Dr. Joga in running the scan, and you in getting in and out of this thing without breaking your ribs more."

>He sticks out his own hand-- get in line, buddy. Dr. Joga notices the little maid peeking out from behind the decker, and points towards her, puzzled.

"Um... who is this? Y-your daughter?"


| >>561607
"Yes."
>The maid states, deadpan


| >>561607
>CN shakes his hand as well
"Well n-"
>>561615
>He gets cut off by the maid, seemingingly deciding to just stay quiet to avoid falling into the obvious trap.
"...So I lay down over there?"
>He points at the CT
"I have an aug eye, would that interfere with the test?"


| >>561607
>Alex delivers his typical pre-CT speech with noticeably more enthusiasm.

"Should take around 20 minutes, maybe a little less. It'll be over before you know it, and then you can go back to keeping us safe."

>He smiles warmly.

>>561616
"Yeah, you lay down on this table, and then we load you into the machine. We're scanning your chest, so the eye won't be an issue. However..."

>He hesitates before continuing.

"... Your... clothes might be."


| >>561622
"Oh right I guess this would get in the way..."
>CN takes off his trenchcoat, wearing a simple jeans and t-shirt underneath... not a very matching outfit. Either way he folds it and sets it down nearby as he lays down on the table.


| >>561625
>Alex and Dr. Joga exchange an apprehensive glance before returning their gaze to CN.

"Ah, sorry but... the jeans have to come off, too."

>Dr. Joga brings a hand to the side of her face and looks down towards the ground next to her; Alex fiddles aimlessly with something in one of his pockets. Most uncomfortable appearing in the room is Dr. Roberts, who had turned a vibrant shade of scarlet.


| >The maid smirks a tad before moving closer
"I will assist you, if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself. Undressing that is."


| >>561529
"We have an OR already prepped-- do you want to go ahead with surgery, Rocky? Do you want some time to talk to her, first?"

>Time and time again Roy has had family members and loved ones usher him out of the room so they can wish a patient well before they're put under. Why should this time be any different?

"Afterwards, we can discuss the procedure."

>The part of his job he likes least. Roy starts to clench his jaw, then becomes conscious of this and relaxes.


| >>561627
"What... do my jeans have to do with my chest?"


| >>561645

>Rocky rubs Strawberry's head fondly and reaches for her hand, but then stops short. She turns to Roy.

"We're running out of time."

>She grips the girl's inactive hand.

"Let's go."


| >>561627 >>561647
"Ugh, fuck it whatever. Let's just get this over with."
>CN reluctantly starts taking off his jeans, and setting them next to his coat, revealing long, grey boxer briefs underneath for all the hospital staff who are riding the line on sexual misconduct to see. Fortunately for geekboys sake, his tshirt is pretty baggy, hiding his more "rounder" features, such as his gut.


| >>561647 >>561652
>Alex takes a breath and readies his best "well, actually" voice , preparing to come up with some bullshit reason on the fly... and is rendered speechless as he watches CN strip to down to his skivvies without so much as another peep out of himself or Dr. Joga. While CN is turned away from them, depositing his clothes on the CT table, Alex catches Dr. Joga's eye and winks at her. She bites her lip, narrowly resisting the urge to giggle like a schoolgirl.


| >>561652
>The maid shakes her head
"They probably only wanted to confirm some rumours."
>For the first time since meeting her, you can hear laughter escape her mouth
"Quite uncouth."
>It still somehow sounds emotionless and dry


| >>561655
"Rumors...?"
>>>561654
>CN processes the statement for a hard minute before staring straight at the doctors.

Total number of posts: 250, last modified on: Sun Jan 1 00:00:00 1558053296

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